May 25, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Estancia wins first CIF title with extra inning win; Anaheim pitcher makes history

Estancia baseball players celebrate after winning the first CIF title in school history. (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Estancia High School’s baseball team made history with its first CIF title Saturday, defeating Anaheim 2-1 in 11 innings in the Division 6 championship game at Goodwin Field on the Cal State Fullerton campus.

Anaheim senior pitcher Jillian Albayati also made history in major proportions by becoming the first female pitcher to start a CIF baseball championship game. Albayati, looking very much like she belonged on the big stage, pitched the first nine innings, scattering eight hits, allowing one run and striking out two. She was 1 for 5 at the plate and drove in a run and moved to first base when her pitching stint was over.

Afterwards, Estancia players praised her effort on the mound following the three hour and 20 minute marathon.

Both teams had numerous chances to go ahead but it was second-seeded Estancia that got the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning on an RBI double by James De La O, who also got the win, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief.

“There was relief,” said Estancia Coach Nate Goellrich after his team’s first appearance in the finals. “Just the mental grind of that game, we knew there would be bunting, we knew there would be hit and runs, we were just trying to out think the other coach and he coached a hell of a game too. I’m just so happy for these kids, everything they went through last year, then the coaching changeover. For them to have that moment is just amazing.”

Anaheim (22-9-1) looked like it might rally in the bottom of the 11th.

With one out, Albayati hit a deep fly to center field. The runners on first and second tagged up to second and third. But Estancia appealed the play and the umpire ruled that the runner at second left too soon, ending the game with the third out.

“This win means a great deal to everyone,” said De La O. “We’ve worked for as long as I can remember to get to this moment, but we did it. Every day we step on the field I put my faith in these guys and hope they have their faith in me. It’s a great coaching staff. We went through a lot of changes this summer in coaching and got the job done.”

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

De La O (3-0) not only got the win in his first appearance on the mound in more than a month, but recorded the game-winning hit with a double down the line to drive in Trevor Scott, who singled.

“It was a 3-1 count and I knew it was going to be a fastball in the zone,” he said.

Sophomore Andrew Mits started for the Eagles, pitching 6 1/3 innings before reaching his pitch and inning limit. He allowed just two hits, struck out four and walked four. Scott came in to pitch three scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing no hits.

Aaron Rojas relieved Albayati in the 10th inning, allowing three hits.

“We were confident with her going on the hill, her and Aaron have both been our two horses and with her battling it out, we knew we were going to play defense behind her,” said Anaheim Coach Mike Barrera. “We had all the confidence in the world in her, offensively, we just couldn’t get enough done for her.”

“We all fought really hard and the defense behind me was great,” Albayati added.

Estancia (27-6) took a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Jack Moyer, driving in John Uchytil, who walked.

But Anaheim battled back in the bottom of the inning. Jesus Mejia walked, Rojas sacrificed him to second base and Albayati followed with a single to tie it.

Cole Lefebvre was 2 for 4 and Moyer, Scott and Andrew Coyotzi were 2 for 5 for Estancia, which outhit Anaheim, 11-4.

“We all put 110 percent effort on that field when we step on it, we don’t ever quit or give in to the other team. I knew from the start we were never going to quit and we showed that today,” said Mits.

Estancia stranded eight runners and Anaheim 10.

It was Estancia’s second extra inning game of the week. The Eagles went 10 innings to defeat Santa Ynez 1-0 on Tuesday in the semifinals in a game that took more than three hours.

“The turnaround we made from seven wins last year to this moment right here is a testament to the players and a testament to our seniors buying in for the change in the program,” Goellrich, the coach, said. “I can’t say enough about the guys today. They battled Tuesday in a 10-inning thriller and then today, it was just amazing.”

Both teams are headed to the CIF regional tournament in a week.

—-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;